Going Sugar-Free - Ask a Nutritionist

March 28, 2024

If a person starts eating only real food and gives up sugar, how long will it be until you see results like less inflammation? Join Leah this week as she explains the timeline for evidence-based insights, signs of improved health to look out for and when you can potentially expect them on this week's episode of Ask a Nutritionist.

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LEAH: Hello, and welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition's “Ask a Nutritionist” podcast brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. My name is Leah Kleinschrodt, and I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, and we're thrilled to be celebrating 20 years on air discussing the connection between what you eat and how you feel while sharing practical, real life solutions for healthier living through balanced nutrition.

We thank all of you for your support and your listenership over the years. And if you're enjoying the show, let us know by leaving a rating or review on Apple podcast or Spotify. Providing feedback helps others find these important real food messages.

Now, let's get started. On today's show, I will be answering a question that we received from one of our Dishing Up Nutrition listeners. This listener asks, “If a person starts eating only real food and gives up sugar, how long until you see results like less inflammation?” And I think this is a great question, and it's a very logical question for anybody to ask when they're considering making a change, any kind of change, whether it is lifestyle related or otherwise; any kind of change in your life.

You want to know how long until I start to notice progress in the right direction. I'll start us off by saying, in my experience, when people start to make the shift from eating ultra processed foods to eating real food and getting rid of the sugar in their diet, they notice some amount of positive change pretty quickly. And when I say pretty quickly, I'm talking about within even a few days or in that first week. But that statement does come with caveats, which I'll get into in a moment.

The importance of controlling inflammation

Low grade inflammation is at the root of most symptoms and chronic conditions, so really any improvement in any symptom means that there's less inflammation in the body. It might not always be the symptom or symptoms that someone is focusing on for their health or like the one thing that they want to improve with their health, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other things that are improving.

Someone might notice less puffiness in their feet or less creakiness in their joints when they first get out of bed. They may notice that they're sleeping better. They may notice that their skin is starting to clear up. They may notice that their heartburn is only half of what it used to be. They might notice that they're not getting their usual evening headaches. And so on and so forth. So many examples here.

The question really is, is how is that inflammation manifesting for that individual person? Now, when I say many people experience improvements within a few days to a week, there can also be a lot of variables to that equation. So if you are someone who has tried real food eating and giving up sugar in the past, and you didn't notice anything in that first week, or even in that first month or two, that doesn't mean that you were doing it wrong or that real food isn't having a positive effect.

So before I get into some of those variables, I'm going to pause us here and take a quick break. When we come back, I'll continue exploring reasons why someone may see slower progress in their inflammation.


Why might seeing less inflammation manifest slower for some people?

LEAH: All right, we're back to Dishing Up Nutrition's “Ask a Nutritionist”. Before the break, I mentioned that there can be reasons why someone may not notice less inflammation in the first few days or that first week of eating real food. So let's start to dive into some of those. I would say it depends on where that person is starting from.

Is this somebody who has been eating takeout meals three times a day for the last 15 years? Or are we talking about somebody who has been eating well 80 percent of the time and they're looking to just level up or improve on that last 20%? These are going to be two very different scenarios and probably two people coming in with different starting levels of inflammation.

It'll depend on how quickly and how consistently someone is able to make some of those real food shifts and how quickly they're able to give up some of that sugar. I have clients who make a complete 180 with their eating habits and they plow forward with eating real food without ever looking back.

And then I've also had clients who are only able to realistically make one or two small changes at a time. Neither approach is wrong. It just may take longer to see results if the changes along the way are just a little smaller in magnitude.

And then it also depends on what else is going on with that person. Are they under an enormous amount of stress? Maybe they're a caregiver for a loved one. Maybe they're going through a divorce or a big move. Or maybe they just have a lot on their plate with their job. Maybe there's someone who they're navigating a toxic relationship with a family member. Maybe they're getting exposure to chemicals in their workplace or in their living environment, or maybe they've had exposures for various reasons in the past.

Maybe someone has a lot of gut healing that needs to take place before they can even really break down that real food efficiently and be able to absorb it well. Or maybe somebody might have a lingering infection that's aggravating the immune system and just keeping them in that more inflamed state.

Of course, the most recent example with that are people who suffer from long haul COVID. It's one of the more recent examples that we see. All of these examples, and there's a lot more out there, these are reasons why someone who is eating real food and they're eating less sugar, they just might see some slower changes in their inflammation level or slower progress towards their goals.


So in summary, shifting to real food and less sugar can really have some remarkable effects on people's health in a pretty short time frame. But there are also people out there who will see that timeline drawn out, and there can be a lot of reasons behind that.

So if you're listening to this or if you're watching this and you're just either not sure where you fall on that spectrum, or you feel like you are stuck in a place with your health and your food choices, this may just be a good time to connect with us and ask some more questions. You can learn more at our website, weightandwellness.com, or you can give our front desk staff a call at 651-699-3438. We're happy to be a part of your health journey wherever you're at.

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So thank you so much for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition's “Ask a Nutritionist” for this week. If you found this episode helpful, be sure to leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast app. And if you have a nutrition question for us that you would like us to answer, we have two options for you. You can join our private Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook community by searching Dishing Up Nutrition on Facebook.

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